And The Legacy Continues –
A DoubleXXposure Media Tribute to Black History Month
As we’re now in the month of February, 2020 – we at Double XXposure Media Relations honor those whom we represent during Black History Month. These icons come from and have legacies that go beyond the great music and works they’ve created.
For Immediate Release:
Six-time Grammy Award winning legend DIONNE WARWICK has given us timeless classics for almost sixty years. Along with sibling Dee Dee Warwick, who was a hit maker in her own right with gems such as the Grammy nominated “Foolish Fool” and the original version of “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” as well as cousin, Whitney Houston – Dionne came from the gospel music dynasty, the Drinkard Singers, which included her mother, the Reverend Lee Warrick, and aunt, Cissy Houston (renown for the great session work she’d done on her own and as co-founder of the Sweet Inspirations, among other achievements). While the Drinkards brought a joyful noise through their performances and recordings, Dionne did so within pop and soul music. Yet, Ms. Warwick went several steps beyond the hits, through her longtime advocacy of AIDS/HIV research. Sales from the 1986 #1 smash single, “That’s What Friends Are For” (recorded with Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Gladys Knight) raised a reported three million dollars to benefit AmFAR (the American Federation for AIDS Research).
This resulted in Ms. Warwick’s appointment by President Ronald Reagan as the US Ambassador of Health to help with public outreach (she also served as the United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization). Her work in AIDS/HIV research continues. Recently, Dionne visited the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology (HV), led by co-founder and world-renowned AIDS researcher Robert Gallo, who praised Ms. Warwick for her committed involvement with making the public aware of the work being done to find a cure.
Dionne’s legacy is moving forward thanks to her sons, David Elliot and Damon Elliot. A longtime songwriter and actor, David co-authored what became the first Top 10 Pop hit and Grammy Award winning tune for the late Luther Vandross, “Here and Now”, in 1989. David has also joined his famous mother on tour as a duet partner in performances and portrayed the late Sam Cooke in the Will Smith film, “Ali”. As for Damon, his pedigree as a record producer has brought much success by creating hits for Christina Aguilera, Destiny’s Child and Pink as well as producing Dionne’s most recent albums, including the Grammy nominated disc, “Now”.
Two-time Grammy winner JAMES MTUME came from a lineage of music greatness as well as community activism. He’s the biological son of departed jazz icon/educator/composer/bandleader, James Heath – who along with his siblings (the Heath Brothers) blazed a trail within the jazz genre with stellar works. Heath - whose compositions were recorded by fellow legends such as Chet Baker, Art Pepper and fellow sax man, the great John Coltrane – served as a professor at the Aaron Copeland School of Music at Queens (NY) College for over 20 years. Heath created the jazz studies program at the school as well as served on the board that led the restoration of Louis Armstrong’s home in Corona (Queens) NY. As for Mtume, his own path in activism began during his studies at Pasadena City College in the late 1960’s, when he joined the African nationalist organization, Us (launched by the creator of Kwanza, Dr. Maulana Karenga).
When Mtume finally entered the world of music as a jazz fusion percussionist/bandleader, his works took an Afro-centric tone. This lasted until the late 1970’s, when he switched gears towards R&B music with great success towards the mid 1980’s. While scoring many million-selling tunes, Mtume created a platform where he launched a community organization to help battle drug abuse and addiction that has long plagued the urban communities. In 1995, while serving as the co-producer/music supervisor for the TV cop drama, “New York Undercover”, Mtume became the co-host of the radio news talk show, “Open Line”, with the late Bob Slade – where both men tackled issues ranging from police brutality to the AIDS epidemic. To this day, Mtume continues his advocacy towards educating communities.
Mtume recently gave a TED talk regarding how music can be the common ground to bring people together. As for Mtume’s legacy, his son Faulu Mtume has done quite well in creating a new road from the one his forefathers had started. Faulu is the director of his father’s music publishing catalog, which includes gems from “Juicy Fruit” and “You, Me & He”, to the classics Mtume had co-written with the late Reggie Lucas – “The Closer I Get to You”, “You Know How to Love Me” and the Grammy Award winning “Never Knew Love Like This Before”. Faulu is responsible for ensuring that Mtume receives proper royalties for his works as well as generate interest of the songs to future generations of producers and artists. In addition, Faulu oversees Mtume’s online presence via the legendary musician’s website and social media.
Jimmy Heath, Quincy Jones and Mtume
ROBERT “KOOL” BELL, alongside his brother, Ronald Khalis Bell, started their musical journey in the band, the Jazziacs. By the end of the 1960’s, they established Kool & the Gang and embarked on a long string of pop and soul hits that are now classics. At the same time, Robert/Kool and Ronald based many of their works – the #1 smash “Celebration”, their earlier albums “Music Is the Message” and “Kool & the Gang and Good Times” – on their spiritual upbringings and beliefs in giving back to the communities that supported them. Robert/Kool expanded into humanitarian work - in January 2015, REACH (Renewable Energy Applications to Conserve Humanity) appointed Kool as its Global Ambassador for Sustainable Energy. REACH is a center within the Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, which works to make clean energy available globally.
Robert "Kool' Bell co-founded the London Gate artist management firm, the Collaborative Marketing Agency, launched a line of health and beauty products (Durisan sanitizer, Just Kool cologne) and Le Kool Champagne. The jewel in the crown is the Kool Kids Foundation, which was launched by Robert’s departed wife, Sakinah Bell, to support music education initiatives for young children in urban cities.
Recently, Kool’s son, “Prince” Hakim Bell, was appointed president of the Kool Kids Foundation and has blazed his own trail career and community wise. As a record producer, Hakim released singles such as “R.O.Y.A.L.T.Y.” of which proceeds benefited breast cancer research. An esteemed DJ, Hakim has traveled around the world, hosting and spinning music for different events as well as charities. Recently, he launched his own record label to work with new, upcoming artists, as well as a line of accessories and merchandise.
DoubleXXposure pays tribute to all the aforementioned – the families of Ms. Warwick, Mr. Mtume and Mr. Bell and those who came before them – for their tremendous contributions that travel beyond the music. May their legacies continue onward.
Kevin L. Goins, Writer
January 28, 2020